BILL CRAWFORD: Wicker watching Tea Party blitz



Sen. Roger Wicker must be anxiously watching the Tea Party blitz against fellow Sen. Thad Cochran. The two senators have much in common.

For example, until they were banned by House Republicans, Wicker’s record for delivering earmarks was second only to Cochran’s. The Tea Party claims earmarks were a major factor in escalating deficits. They weren’t, but the claim is pervasive.

Wicker has been a recent champion of bipartisan deal-making. In July he called for concessions by both parties to avoid the “nuclear option” rules change Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid had proposed to thwart Republican filibusters. Additionally, as a member of the Senator Budget Committee and, thus, a participant on the House-Senate conference committee charged with recommending a compromise budget by mid-December, Wicker told The Clarion-Ledger:

“The public expects us to show that we are problem-solvers, and they want a result. And, I hope that is something we can deliver on in a bipartisan fashion.”

The Tea Party, however, considers any bipartisan deals as “sabotage by weak Republicans.” When Cochran voted for the bipartisan deal to reopen government, the Tea Party called Cochran “pathetic” and said he “continually votes against the wishes of his constituents.” Wicker also voted to reopen government.

It’s clear that the Tea Party prefers inflexible dissidents of the Ted Cruz breed rather than negotiator statesmen of the Cochran and Wicker style.

Conservative writer George Will recently described how James Madison, father of the U.S. Constitution, intended our government to work:

“Madison created a constitutional regime that by its structure created competing power centers and deprived any of them of the power to impose its will on the others.” This system of politics, said Will, forces politicians “to bargain and collaborate.”

“Recently Washington has been tumultuous because politics, as the Framers understood it, has disintegrated,” said Will.

How ironic that the Tea Party says it champions the Constitution while at the same time promoting politicians who would destroy its intended operation?

It appears that the Tea Party prefers politicians who rant, shut-down the government, and hold the economy hostage while those who created our Constitution preferred politicians who negotiate, restrain government, and keep the economy on a path to growth.

Indeed, the practical solution to our deficit and debt crises is to restrain the growth in government spending (including Medicare and Social Security) while increasing the growth of our economy (which would generate more tax revenue).

Brinksmanship and shutdowns hinder growth; negotiated long-term restraint would spur it.

Heretofore, Wicker and Cochran – as did their predecessors Trent Lott, John Stennis, and Jim Eastland – have followed the path our Founders intended.

Which path do Mississippi voters prefer?

Roger Wicker, whose next election is in 2018, will be watching closely.

Bill Crawford ( is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.

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  • JohnBreland

    Mr. Crawford is oblivious to concerns that motivate the Tea Party movement. Neither James Madison nor any other founder advocated compromise when fundamental liberties are at stake. The Declaration of Independence, for example, was not an exercise in compromise.

    Here’s what Mr. Crawford and our Republican delegation need to learn about the art of compromise: You compromise when both side share the same general goal but differ in how to get there. But when one side wants to destroy the very thing the other side stand for, you don’t compromise; you fight. If Grandma wants to feed my kid ice cream but I want him to eat veggies, we compromise. But if a guy wants to poison my child, I don’t compromise. I take him down.

    In this current situation, Obamacare is pure poison to the American system of individual liberties and limited government. This is war. The democrats know it: witness the scorched earth tactics. Republicans need to realize it and act accordingly. So far, neither Senators Cochran nor Wicker (nor Mr. Crawford) have shown any inclination to grasp this reality.

    • Guest Person

      Mr Breland – the issue here is that the Tea Party has created their own reality by selectively remembering our history and laws.

      The AHCA was passed by an elected Congress signed into law by our elected President – up held by the Supreme Court and was clearly on the ballot the last Presidential election. You may not like that reality but that is what happened – your side clearly LOST. Now that your side clearly lost in the election you take to whatever radical tactic you can find and you rationlize it by selectively using radom examples of history without any context. The problem is that you do not care about the damage you do to the ecconomy or our system of goverment. Do you know how crazy the idea is that you would purposely wreck the economy because you feel a law is bad? Only a radicalized mind would think that makes sense.

      The fact is that you are a monority party that is turning the public away in droves by your radical actions – you are blaming this on Democrats or Obama but you are disinfranchizing yourself through your Taliban style tactics and ideals.

      • JohnBreland

        I hear you. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see who has the last laugh (figuratively speaking) when the inevitable collapse occurs.
        Speaking of history and laws, I fear that your memory of history conveniently omits quite a few odious bills that were signed into law and upheld by the Supreme Court but which now rest on the trash heap of history–some of which we have already fought at least one war over. Standing for what is right isn’t always popular, but that’s no reason to surrender.
        In any event, neither the President nor the Supreme Court are on the same level as God. It is unsettling that some (among whom you count yourself, apparently) believe that dissent is illegitimate once your favored faction speaks. It demonstrates how far we have strayed from the Constitutional principle of checks and balances.
        Unlike you, I feel no compulsion to accept the pronouncements of Congress, the President, or the Supreme Court as the end of discussion. In fact, in this particular case (and as an attorney with over 20 years’ experience, I don’t say this lightly) I consider the Supreme Court’s decision in the Obamacare case so legally suspect as to suggest the influence of corruption, extortion, blackmail or some other malignant motive.

        • Guest Person

          Some of what you say is true but I am afraid it is out of context – we do have a history of laws in dispute and we had hoped the one that resulted in such a horrible war would have taught us to work within our system of goverment to resolve our differences.
          It is also concerning that you readily claim to speak for God as you encouarge distrust and rebellion against our goverment. Since we are looking at history we can easily point to the horrible acts done to humanity because groups have been told they are answering to a higher power.
          However – no one is saying you cannot be against any law

          • JohnBreland

            Guest Person, I’m not sure where you gleaned from my post that I claimed to be speaking for God. The only mention I made of God was pointing out that the federal government does NOT speak for Him. Your knee-jerk recoil from the very mention of the word “God,” regardless of context, speaks volumns.

          • Guest Person

            You made it pretty clear that you would take your interpretation of God’s word over the laws passed by Congress, signed by the President and backed by the Supreme Court. You have made it clear that you will be happy to revise history or change it’s context to justify your abstract ideals.

            The response was not knee jerk – they were based on your comments and it is evident that you cannot accept a goverment that allows you to worship how you want you want to impose your beliefs on everyone – regardless the cost.

            The founding fathers gave us a system to work in to resolve our differences yet you clearly state you will not accept “dictates” from Congress but you will expect us to follow the ones the Tea Party espouses. Your party is a minority and what you can’t achieve through elections you will force through terror type tactics at the expense of our very own goverment.

            Your ideals reflect a radical minority and you have no problem to dismantle our system of goverment to push your abstract polices.

          • JohnBreland

            Final word from me, Guest Person, since we’ve devolved into talking points instead of substance. You started out well but quickly lapsed into the typical shrillness of the Left. I’m disappointed.

            First, you’re the only person who has brought religion into the discussion (1941641 notwithstanding, as I’m not sure his contribution counts as “discussion”). I didn’t mention religion at all.

            Secondly, I certainly wish we could return to the founding fathers’ system of limited government. I doubt that the founding fathers had the modern Left’s modus operandi of deceit, trickery and character assassination in mind as a suitable way to “resolve our differences.”

            Lastly, I would be interested to see a list of the “terror tactics” you reference. Please supply names, dates, locations, and activity specifics, and I will be happy to put you in touch with appropriate law enforcement authorities.

          • Guest Person

            LOL – well Mr. Breland you know what you said and you know full well what you implied – what is disapointing is the point that you throw those around so loosely. What is worse is your twisting our American History to suit your political ideals – you are painting yourself in a corner once you have to deal with the public in general.
            I simply dealt with what you posted in reference to the article posted above. You claim our founding fathers had an ideal of limited goverment which might make sense if you lived in a Glen Beck world. In the real world most rational people don’t think of Big goverment / Limited goverment they look for effective goverment. People of your mindset forget that goverment means schools, teachers, first responders, highways, damns, bridges – the list goes on.

          • FrereJocques

            Really, JohnBreland, your protestations of innocence fall on deaf ears. In your post, you pretty well stated, as Guest Person says, that you consider God to be your ultimate authority, even in civil matters, trumping King and Country. And then you try to set yourself and your ilk up as martyrs, claiming we are all anti-religion and anti-God. Nothing is further from the truth. We are not living in a Theocracy, as much as you would prefer that we be. God is not the ultimate civil authority. I suggest that if your prefer this type of Government, you move to Iran or Saudi Arabia, where you should fit right in.

        • 1941641

          Reading your post, I would have to conclude you are a member of the Tea Party “Wacko Birds”! Lawyer,Hell! Fundamentalist shouting about “God.” Radical as the word gets! That’s as far up as you can climb before you fall back in it! LOL!!

        • TWBDB

          Mr Breland, anti-government sentiment is popular in NE MS: standing against such sentiment is not. So come off your high horse: you’re taking the easy road.

          It’s shocking to hear a lawyer take a crap on the due process of law as you have. One can only hope you no longer have the authority to practice in the state

      • msgemini

        Also remember that to the American people and a way to get it passed was to declare AHCA was not a tax which would have to have been initiated in the House. Then it went before the Supreme Court and was actually deemed a tax. The entire law should have been struck down at that point.

        • Guest Person

          You do understand that makes no sense and you are just grasping at anything to confuse the issue.

          The mandate insurance system has been in effect in Mass and is doing well – the format and insurance structure is working. 98% of the people have health coverage and it has over 75% approval rating.

          And guess what – they still are Americans!

          • msgemini

            A study published in The American Journal of Medicine,
            “Medical Bankruptcy in Massachusetts: Has Health Reform Made a
            Difference?”, compared bankruptcy filers from 2007, before reforms were
            implemented, to those filing in the post-reform 2009 environment to see
            what role medical costs played. The study found that: 1) From 2007 to
            2009, the total number of medical bankruptcies (defined as due to unpaid
            medical bills or to loss of income due to illness, with no distinction
            between those causes) in Massachusetts increased by more than one third,
            from 7,504 to 10,093; and 2) Illness and medical costs contributed to
            59.3% of bankruptcies in 2007 and 52.9% in 2009. The researchers note
            that the financial crisis beginning in 2008 likely contributed to the
            increased number of bankruptcies, and Massachusetts’ increase in medical
            bankruptcies over the 2007–2009 period was nevertheless below the
            national average rate of increase. Still, the researchers explain that
            health costs continued to go up over the period in question, and their
            overall findings are “incompatible with claims that health reform has
            cut medical bankruptcy filings significantly.”[47]

            During the week of April 5, 2010, the Boston Globe
            reported that more than a thousand people in Massachusetts had “gamed”
            the mandate/penalty provision of the law since implementation by
            choosing to be insured only a few months a year, typically when in need
            of a specific medical procedure. On the average, the Globe reported,
            these part-time enrolees were paying $1,200–$1,600 in premiums over a
            few months and receiving $10,000 or more in healthcare services before
            again dropping coverage.[48]

          • Guest Person

            I can’t tell if you just don’t know what you are talking about or if you just want to confuse the issue.

            Health Care payments are the leading reason for bankruptcy in the US – we are the only country in the world where you can loose everything if you get a major illness. It has nothing to do with the AHCA or mandate insurance.

            Second as far as gaming the system – what system do people not try to game? People speed in their cars but that does not mean we get rid of highways – we work to stop it.

            Look I don’t care if you like the law or not but please keep you criticism to real facts about the law.

        • TWBDB

          msgemini, the AHCA should have been a tax from the beginning – it should have been a ‘single payer’ system. Why? Everyone would have health coverage, no one would go bankrupt because they got sick, there would be no need for a mandate, state or federal exchanges, none of this crap. Grandma could go out and purchase any suplemental program she’d like – just like she does today.

          But no, the Tea Party came along, disrupted the entire process — started an anarchist drumbeat for revolution and here we are today.

          • msgemini

            TWBDB, I don’t WANT a single payer system. If you do, MOVE! I don’t want to pay for anyone’s insurance other that my own and my immediate familys’. I also DON’T THINK ANYONE SHOULD PAY MY INSURANCE EITHER. And seriously, I don’t know anyone who went “bankrupt” because they got sick. Most, if not all hospitals, will work out a payment plan for those who don’t have insurance. And please, stop blaming the Tea Party, remember, they didn’t even get to read it until it was passed.

          • Guest Person

            Move because of single payer insurance????? First of all when you pay into an insurance plan you ARE paying for everyone in the plan – some will use it more than others. Second single payer does not mean you are paying for someone else to have insurance – everyone pays keeper of the insurance plan who then pays the bills – one group pays the bills everyone pays into the plan. Besides where would one move to?????? We are the only industrialized country in the world that does not have a goverment sponsered health plan. LOL.

          • TWBDB

            here’s the link to the full article you referenced, perhaps you should read it
            for yourself.

            The overall conclusion from this article is the MA Health Care Reform system (the base model for the AHCA) doesn’t go far enough. It reduces the uninsured but it doesn’t significantly reduce health care related bankruptcy. The authors do say, “Indeed, medical bankruptcy rates appear lower in Canada,19 where national health insurance provides universal, first dollar coverage.”; Canada’s system being ‘single payer’.

            I should also point out that, while you may not know someone bankrupted by medical bills, you sure were quick to cite a reference dedicated to exactly that point. Indeed you attempted to use this very argument to defend you point: which actually makes little sense.

            Same as your argument about not paying for anyone’s insurance beyond your immediate family. I assume you do work, you do pay Medicare, and certainly someone in your family, someone you love benefits from the health care Medicare affords them?

            And finally, I have no compunction to leave my native country or stop defending my political opinions. Freedom, Msgemini, after all is the
            cornerstone of our national heritage, both my and your heritage. You don’t have claim to it all, it’s mine too.

    • msgemini

      Applause, you nailed it! Thank you and I hope you vote in the next election.

  • JohnBreland

    One additional observation: I’ve noticed a definite trend among comment posters, not just here but in other forums also. People of a particular political persuation, by and large, prefer to remain anonymous. Wonder why?

    • Guest Person

      LOL – it is not a big wonder – common sense tells most people that it is a bad idea to post on the world wide web using your personal information.

    • FrereJocques

      No, you really don’t “wonder why”. You know already. It is because it is easy to intimidate and seek revenge against those who disagree with the majority opinion holders. Those who post anonymously do so out of fear and necessity. Many people who hold contrary views on everyday topics here, such as politics and religion, may be working for companies that have publicly stated opinions and they may not want to have people working for them who have different opinions. And MS is one of the WORST states for employee protections from being unreasonably fired. Just as an example, in MS a person can be fired for being gay. No recourse, no appeal. The employer can openly state that the person was fired for being a homosexual, because it is not illegal to do so. You can also be denied rental housing, loans, insurance, and visitation rights on the same basis. Go publicly announce you are gay, and then apply for a job at Chik-Fil-A, and see what happens.

      You and your ilk claim to be “fair and balanced”, and that you don’t discriminate, and that you love all men as Jesus commanded. Then you turn right around and attempt to deny those who disagree with you, their most basic human rights and needs. Hypocrites.

    • TWBDB

      Which John Breland are you?

    • Jack Makokov

      I’m sure you have no qualms about using your real name as a username. The sites you frequent–Brietfart and the like–are notorious for tracking users and their browsing habits. So they probably no everything about you anyway.